In this covenant God revises the expression of His purpose, though not the purpose itself, to meet a changed condition brought on by human sin. In the most subtle of earthly creatures, the serpent, Satan appeared to tempt the woman in the Garden of Eden. This he did:
- By questioning God's word -- "Yea, hath God said"?
- By contradicting God's word -- "Ye shall not surely die."
- By impugning God's motive -- "Ye shall be as gods."
The woman looked upon the forbidden fruit, desired it, took it, and ate of it. Then she gave to her husband, who also ate of it. By a desire and determination to be "like the Most High," Lucifer rebelled against heaven and was cast, as profane, out of the mountain of God, (Isa. 14:12-17, Ezek. 28: 11-19). By suggesting the same desire into the heart of the woman, the serpent succeeded in bringing about a breach of fellowship between God and the creature made in His own image.
I. THE SERPENT, INSTRUMENTAL IN MAN'S FALL, IS CURSED, (vs. 14-15). "Because thou hast done this" was God's explanation.
- HE IS CURSED ABOVE ALL CATTLE.
- HIS CURSE IS GREATER THAN THAT OF ANY BEAST OF THE FIELD.
- HE IS CONDEMNED TO PERPETUALLY:
- Crawl on his belly - suggesting that he was not originally made to do this; that he may have been an upright creature when tempting Eve in the garden.
- Eat of the dust of the earth - even in the coming Kingdom of God, (Isa. 65:25).
- THERE IS ALSO PRONOUNCED A PERPETUAL ENMITY:
- Between the serpent and the woman.
- Few women realize that their natural fear of snakes has any connection with the Garden of Eden and the fall from a state of innocence and bliss, through the wiles of the devil.
- But this enmity is of far greater significance than that.
- It was an enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the wicked one.
- The "seed of the woman" will bruise the serpent's head -- crushing him forever.
(1) This is accomplished by Christ, who took the sinner's place.
(2) This includes all of God's people, as identified with Christ, (Rom. 16:20; I Jn. 3:8; I Cor. 15:57).
- The serpent will "bruise his heel" -- a temporary wound; suffered by Jesus at Calvary, but perfectly healed in the resurrection.
- THE TRIUMPH OF DIVINE GRACE IS EVIDENCED IN THE FACT THAT THE REDEEMER IS TO BE THE "SEED OF THE WOMAN."
- It was the woman whom Satan used to bring the fall of the race.
- Showing the super-abundance of divine grace, God will redeem mankind by one "made of woman" - without an earthly father, (Gal. 4:4).
II. THE STATE AND POSITION OF THE WOMAN IS CHANGED, (vs. 16).
- BECAUSE OF THE TRANSGRESSION HER SORROW AND SUFFERING, CONNECTED WITH CHILD-BEARING, WILL BE GREATER THAN ORIGINALLY PURPOSED, (I Tim. 2:15; Comp. II Tim. 1:3-5; 3:14-15).
- SINCE SIN BROUGHT DISHONOR INTO THE UNIVERSE, GOD NOW ESTABLISHES A DEFINITE ORDER FOR THE HOME.
- The woman must now submit herself under the authority of her husband; no exceptions are stated in the Scriptures, (I Pet. 3:1-6; Eph. 5:22-24).
- The husband shall henceforth "rule over" his wife, (I Cor. 14: 34; I Tim. 2:11-12).
- Rather than fret and complain about this, it is becoming and proper that the woman recognize it as a merciful and wise act of God - designed for her good until such time as the curse is lifted and she is beyond the realm of deception.
III. FOR MAN'S SAKE THE EARTH IS CURSED, (vs. 17-19a; 5:29; Rom. 8:20-22).
- IN SORROW HE SHALL EAT OF IT ALL THE DAYS OF HIS LIFE, (Job 5:7; 14:1-2).
- HE MUST, HENCEFORTH, BATTLE THE THORN AND THISTLE; THE VERY ELEMENTS WILL NOW RESIST HIS WILL AS SURELY AS HE HAS RESISTED THE WILL OF GOD.
- IDLENESS IS GOOD FOR NO MAN; SO GOD DECREED THAT MAN SHOULD LABOR FOR HIS FOOD - eating his bread by the "sweat of his brow."
IV. WITH THE ENTRANCE OF HUMAN SIN, CERTAIN PROCESSES OF DECAY DEVELOPED IN ALL LIVING THINGS
- GOD HAD THREATENED DEATH AS A PENALTY FOR EATING THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT.
- HIS SPIRITUAL SEPARATION FROM FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD WAS IMMEDIATE.
- Conscious of sin and nakedness, the human pair hid themselves in the garden.
- They attempted to make aprons of fig leaves to cover their shame.
- But their efforts did not satisfy; even then it was true: "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper."
- NOW IT IS SHOWN THAT SIN WILL RESULT IN THE ULTIMATE BREAKDOWN AND DISINTEGRATION OF THE HUMAN BODY. To all of Adam's posterity the wages of sin includes physical death, (vs. 19b; Psa. 90:3; 104:29; Job 10:8-9; Heb. 9:27-28).
The great mercy and grace of God are evident in the Adamic Covenant. He did not content Himself with destroying the man whom He made in His own image. But, He made for Adam and Eve coats of skin that their nakedness might be hidden; their sins covered. The slain animal may picture the coming "Lamb of God" by whose blood sinners are redeemed. But the full redemption of what was lost in the fall would be long in coming to its completion. Until that redemption is complete man must be driven from the Garden and denied access to the Tree of Life. His only approach to God, henceforth, will be by way of sacrifice. Jesus came and offered Himself without spot as One eternal sacrifice for all who put their trust in Him. We may approach God in Jesus' name,
and through His blood - confident of acceptance because of Him.
Let us, therefore, draw near to His gracious throne with holy boldness - and may we in His covenant grace abide.
QUESTIONS FOR REVIEW
- Did God change His purpose after man's sin?
- In what way, or ways, was Eve tempted in the Garden?
- In what way were the tempted and the tempter alike?
- What curse was placed on the serpent?
- What was the announced end of the far-reaching enmity between the seed of the serpent and that of the woman?
- Who was the promised "seed" of the woman?
- How was the state and position of the woman changed because of sin?
- What happened to the earth for man's sake?
- How did this effect the life of man?
- What came as the direct result of sin?
- Explain the two-fold sense in which this is true.
- Has the wage of sin ever been reduced?
- What divine blessings are evident in this Adamic Covenant?
- What was pictured or symbolized in the slain animal?
- What was man's only way of approach to God after the curse?
- What better approach do we have today?